Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner

On this date in 1858, Hypatia Bradlaugh (later Bonner) was born. Namesake of the murdered pagan lecturer of Alexandria, Hypatia was the daughter of great British atheist leader Charles Bradlaugh, who triumphed after a long battle to be seated in Parliament as an atheist. Matriculating at London University, Hypatia became a teacher at the Hall of Science run by her father's National Secular Society. When she married Arthur Bonner in 1882, they merged their surnames and had two sons, one of whom survived. After her father died in 1891, Hypatia wrote his biography, and was forced by constant slanders of deathbed conversions to correct the public record, even taking successful court action. An ardent opponent of the death penalty, proponent of penal reform, peace advocate and feminist, Hypatia lectured widely. She founded the Rationalist Peace Society in 1910. She edited a journal, Reformer (1897-1904). She was part of the Rationalist Press Association, worked against blasphemy laws, and was appointed Justice of the Peace for London, 1922-1934, as a reward for 40 years of public service. Her books include Penalties Upon Opinion (1912), The Christian Hell (1913) and Christianity and Conduct (1919). In her final "Testament," she wrote: "Away with all these gods and godlings; they are worse than useless." D. 1934.

“Heresy makes for progress.”

—Motto of Reformer, a British journal launched in 1897 by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner. Also see

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo printed with permission in Women Without Superstition

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